ACWORTH, GA—Taking several minutes to fully process what was occurring, Sinclair Group, Inc. employee Carolyn Belk, 27, slowly and gradually realized this morning that her boss, Doug Fletcher, 48, was attempting to conduct a normal conversation with her. “He came in and asked me how everything was going, and then he started talking about his family’s plans for the holidays and whether I had made plans yet too and I’m thinking ‘Okay, what’s happening here? Where is this going?’” said Belk, who confirmed that it dawned on her only incrementally that Fletcher was not giving her a performance review or assigning her a task or gently reprimanding her for something she had done wrong, but was in fact trying to initiate a casual coworker-to-coworker chat. “It took me a solid five minutes to figure out what was going on, and by that time the conversation was basically over. I pretty much just stared at him.” At press time, Belk was praying that would never, ever happen again.